Val's Rapid Serve in St. Cloud: a burger joint with retro flair

Located off of Highway 10 in St. Cloud, Val's Rapid Serve is certainly not much to look at. Blink and you'll miss it, and don't plan to dine in. You'll be waiting for your order in a teeny tiny room that looks like any other hole-in-the-wall.

Val's Rapid Serve is fast-food takeout with an old-fashioned flair. Val Henning opened the restaurant in 1959 and sold it to his sons Bill and Dave Henning in 1979. The burger joint likely hasn't changed much since then.

Val's Rapid Serve is a study in contradictions. Despite the retro vibe, there are these computerized contraptions where you can place your order directly into the machine. It spits out a number and you're waiting for your order. Choose between hamburgers, cheeseburgers, shrimp and fish sandwiches, and the biggest selection of shakes you've ever seen: pumpkin, cappuccino, dreamsicle, pina colada, cherry cheesecake...and of course more traditional choices like chocolate, vanilla, and mint. The milkshakes taste like old-fashioned malts, and the burgers are pretty standard fare.

It's the French fries that are the big draw. Not too crispy, but just crispy enough. Seasoned to perfection with what tastes like popcorn salt. The portions are quite generous and spill into the bag. You've got to eat a bunch first to find the burgers at the bottom, but it's easy to do because they're addictive.

Hamburgers start at $1.55. Small fries are $1.75 and a large costs a quarter more. A shake will run you $2.30 for a small or $2.70 for a large. Good prices, quick service. Next time you're driving up north and need a pit stop, skip McDonald's and go to Val's Rapid Serve instead.

Val's Rapid Serve
628 E. Saint Germain St., St. Cloud

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